When we moved to this house six years ago I began the task of adding my own flavor to the yard. While looking for plants and flowers I stumbled upon a rhododendron bush. The picture of the delicate flowers caught my attention and I knew I wanted to give this plant a try. Plus don’t you love the sound of the name when it rolls off your tongue? ….. rhododendron.
I also thought of one of my all time favorite books, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, when I saw the rhododendron bush. I realize in the book the entrance is in the rosebush but somehow I can envision the rats entering their secret tunnel beneath these dark green leaves as well. I never look at this bush without thinking of Mrs. Frisby and Timothy. :)
I knew that our Nebraska winds would be a factor in the survival of this plant but I wanted to give it a try just the same. I planted this intriguing plant under the kitchen window, tucked behind a small evergreen bush on one side and a butterfly bush sheltering it on the south side. I was hopeful this would be enough protection until it could establish its own root system to withstand our Nebraska breezes.
For six years I’ve babied it along and for six years it has hung on, growing very little if at all. Two years ago its leaves were looking stressed and I sadly began to think it may not survive after all. Last week while I was out front a splash of color caught my eye and I saw blooms! Blooms! My rhododendron was BLOOOMING! I did a little jig and told her how happy I was that she had fought hard and long to live to tell the tale of her first six years in my yard. (You see I take great pride in my relationship with my plants; kindred spirits if you will)
Isn't she a beauty?